Driving to work today, we noticed that McDonald's has launched its latest product aimed at the health-conscious demographic. In case you haven't heard, you can now purchase fruit smoothies at Mickey D's! Sounds like real progress, right? Well, let's take a closer look and see if they're really as healthy as they sound.

McDonald's is not exactly known as a healthfood destination. After all, a typical lunch at the Golden Arches these days might well include something like an Angus Bacon & Cheese, Large Fries, and a Large Coke. ?Together, that's 1,600 calories, 64 grams of fat, and 2,400 mg of sodium, 99% of which is from highly cooked, highly processed, non-organic, factory-farmed, nutrition-barren source materials . (Add on another 75 calories and 550 more mg of sodium if you plan to go through, say, five packets of ketchup along with those fries.) (Source) And, some people eat that daily!

Jim here with another exciting edition of Weird Wednesday. You know, each time I say "weird," I don't always mean the same thing. Sometimes "weird" means odd or strange. Other times it means funny or ironic. It might also mean unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. Come to think of it, the definition of weird is also weird.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Jim Banholzer. He lived next door to Wendi and me when we first moved to the D.C. area in 1991. We all lived in a small "garden apartment" complex in Falls Church, Virginia. Our roommate at the time worked as a leasing agent there, which qualified us for a decent rental discount. I think we paid $800 or so for the place, an upscale 2-bedroom townhome close to the community pool. Jim lived next door with one of the more unstable people I've ever met (and, trust me, that's saying something).

Last night I dreamed of meandering through an unfamiliar cityscape, following some lonely sidewalk next to a river at night, feeling particularly sad and miserable beneath dim yellow street lights. I wore a black suit, carried a highball glass, and was absolutely drunk!

Having crossed the river, I soon realized (even in my dream-drunken state) that I'd been wandering aimlessly. Feeling rather pathetic, I decided to walk back across the river and sober up in a casino that I knew was there. Drunk and depressed, I figured I'd just sit in front of a slot machine for a few hours.

Today we'd like to introduce you to one of the sweetest, most creative, and passionate raw foodists we know. She's petite, pretty, pleasant, powerful! She continually shares her knowledge about the raw food lifestyle with others and educates many individuals about our human rights when it comes to the foods we grow and consume. She's up on the latest regulatory activities relating to health and diet issues going on within the US government, and speaks out when our rights are in jeopardy of being taken away.

Take the Time to Meet... Rhio!

Every day I receive countless emails filled with questions about the raw food diet, my own success with reducing nearly 100 pounds and regaining health, and pleas for help by many who feel like they've hit bottom and there's no way up. Some emails have me in tears, because I can completely relate to what many of you are going through. I feel your pain, frustration, desperation.

One thing I've always been good at is listening, truly listening to what others are saying (and being an empath allows me to know what some are saying, even when they many times aren't verbalizing it). Another thing I've always been good at is intuitively knowing how to help others who are asking for advice. Jim used to joke that he wanted me to go into business running an advice column because ever since he's known me, I've been the person everyone comes to for help and advice. So, when I receive so many emails asking for help, it feels natural for me to reach out and connect with those needing help. It's what I do best well, that and spreading love!

Here's a video demonstrating a technique for making super-fast, vibrantly beautiful, tasty salads! If you frequently find yourself in a rush, but also want a healthy meal, definitely check out this mandoline technique. (Further commentary below, after the video...)

I'm still working on the dishes that will be served at the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat (only 2 spots left!). Today, I worked on the Sandwich Fixin's that will be served for lunch on one of the retreat days.

It's not much longer before I'll be serving all kinds of delicious foods to those attending the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat! I've been working on the recipes and taking pictures to include with the bound materials going home with everyone attending the retreat.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Today for Thankful Thursday, we wanted to say a special THANK YOU to our readers. It means so much to us that you come to visit our blog. With every new comment (both here on the blog and through email) it fills us with great happiness!

Is there something you'd like to see more of here on our blog? Something you'd like us to discuss? We know you are looking for more recipes, since you've told us (be sure to check out our recent posts where we've linked to some fantastic sites offering recipes!). What else would you like to read about or have us share with you?